Arjun Tendulkar gets maiden IPL deal; Mumbai Indians pick him for base price

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Mumbai, Feb 18 (PTI) The iconic Sachin Tendulkar's son Arjun Tendulkar's nascent cricketing career got a major fillip on Thursday when he was picked by Mumbai Indians at the IPL players' auction, the last name to go under the hammer in Chennai.

The franchise for which his father didn't just play but also took up mentorship of youngsters, bought Arjun for Rs 20 lakh, which was his base price.

It was hardly a surprise given that he has been a net bowler for the franchise for the past two-three seasons.

The 21-year-old recently made his senior Mumbai team debut when he played in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the national T20 championship, against Haryana.

Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardane stressed that the franchise picked Arjun purely on skills. 'We have looked at it purely on a skills-basis, I mean, there is going to be a big tag on his head, because of Sachin, but luckily he is a bowler, not a batsman, so I think, Sachin will be very proud, if he could bowl like Arjun,' Jayawardane said at a virtual press conference held after the auction.

'So, I think it is going to be learning process for Arjun, he just started playing for Mumbai and now with the franchise, so he will learn the ropes, he will evolve, he is still young but a very focussed young man, so you have to give him sometime and hopefully not put lot of pressure on him either.

'...just let him evolve as he evolves around and work his way up, that is what we are there to help him to do,” added the Sri Lankan legend.

Mumbai Indians Director of Cricket Operations and former India speedster Zaheer Khan said that the junior Tendulkar was keen on learning and was a hard-working kid.

'As far as I am concerned, yes, I have spent a lot of time with him in the nets, working alongside him, trying to teach him few tricks of the trade and that has been going well.

'And look the added pressure of the name Sachin Tendulkar is always going to be there on him and something which he will have to live by, but we are very hopeful that environment, which we have around the team is definitely going to help them,' said Zaheer.

Mumbai Indians owner Akash Ambani said that the budding pacer has a 'beautiful' skill-set.

“…Arjun has a beautiful skill-set, he is left-arm fast bowler and can bat left-arm, there are not many of those in world cricket, but it is very important that his process and progression happens as any other young cricketer’s progressions happens.

'...Fortunately at MI, we help individuals reach their potential, it is all on their hard-work, but we believe we have the environment to do that, and hopefully we can see Arjun reach his potential in the coming years,' said Ambani.

So far, the left-handed batsman and left-arm pacer has played two matches for Mumbai in the T20 format, in which he has scored three runs and taken two wickets.

He came up through the ranks after playing age-group cricket tournaments and has also featured in the T20 Mumbai League.

The young player also recently shone in the prestigious Police Shield Tournament.

Previously, Arjun has also been seen bowling to the Indian national team in the nets. He represented the India U-19 team, when it had toured Sri Lanka in the past. PTI NRB PM BS BS